Bucking President Trump’s directive for buying oil to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), Senate Democrats last week nixed what they say was a $3 billion bailout for oil producers from the coronavirus economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate on March 25. An earlier version of the $2 trillion relief bill favored by Senate Republicans allocated $3 billion for filling up the SPR to aid a struggling oil sector. With oil prices crashing, Trump announced a few weeks ago he planned to have the government purchase “large quantities” of crude oil to add to the emergency stockpile. “We’re going to fill it right up to the top,” he said . The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in the 1970s to reduce disruptions in oil supply and it currently holds 635 million barrels of crude. Several U.S. senators sent a letter to the President at the time of his announcement, opposing this “bailout” of the oil industry. “Using federal assistance — including low-interest loans, royalty relief, tax breaks, or strategic petroleum reserve purchases — in order to prop up oil companies would be a wasteful misuse of government resources that would exacerbate the climate crisis,” Senators Ed Markey […]


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